As a nurse with more than 17 years of experience working with infants and children, Wendi Karam, MSN, RN, was elated when she learned four years ago she was pregnant. Given her nursing background, Karam assumed the transition into motherhood would be easy.
She was wrong.Wendi Karam, RN, left, and Karmi Soder, RN.
“I was that mom Googling how to get a lactation consultant to my house the next day,” said Karam who works part-time in the pediatric emergency room at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. “And while I knew how to physically care for my baby, I was unprepared for how isolated I felt.”
Three months after her daughter’s birth, Karam found solace in a local mother’s group. And while her medical knowledge made her the group’s go-to resource on how to care for common childhood illnesses and injuries, she also found there were many queries outside of her realm of expertise.
“I was frequently asked for recommendations for a night nurse, or doula or someone who specialized in toddler nutrition,” Karam said.
Finding there was no one entity that provided new parents with valuable resources, Karam launched NewboRN Solutions, a one-stop shop that provides new parents with newborn education and services, including lactation consulting, CPR and child care classes, pre- and post-natal massage, childbirth education, sleep consultants, night nurses and doulas.
Karam received an overwhelmingly positive response to her business. During her first year in business, NewboRN Solutions offered an array of personalized classes, and certified more than 250 parents in infant/child CPR.
“My biggest challenge with NewboRN Solutions was learning how to balance work and life challenges,” Karam said. “I was working part-time as a nurse, launching a new business and wanting to spend quality time with my husband and daughter.”
Through social media, Karam reconnected with her former boss, Karmi Soder, MSN, PNP, RN. Soder, a mother of four, who had previously worked as a hospital administrator at CPMC, was working as a consultant and was intrigued by Karam’s business model.
“Karmi has a background in strategic development and healthcare operations,” Karam said. “Her background complements mine, and by joining forces, I felt confident that we could take NewboRN Solutions to the next level.”
Today, NewboRN Solutions has more than 60 education experts, many of whom are RNs, who help families in the San Francisco Bay Area navigate parenthood from pregnancy to preschool. Karam and Soder ensure their experts are licensed, certified and insured.
“Ultimately, we hope to look at expanding our business to serve markets beyond the San Francisco Bay Area,” Soder said. “The most common response we hear when people find out about our business, is they wish we had been around years ago when their children were little.”
[toggle title=”Nurses create successful business model” load=”hide”]For nurses who want to start their own business but are not sure how to start, Wendi Karam and Karmi Soder, owners of NewboRN Solutions, suggest combining a personal passion with nursing expertise.
“Wendi and I both wanted to become nurses since we were kids, and share an interest and background in pediatrics,” Soder, an RN, said. “Our business fills a gap that we saw in the community, by providing a website where parents can go to immediately access a wide array of health experts. And these experts can do individualized home consults or even talk to parents via the phone or Skype.”
To spread the word on NewboRN Solutions, Karam and Soder have formed partnerships with baby businesses including My Gym, Sprout and local parent groups to offer classes. They also promote their business through local physician offices and social media groups for new parents.
The two expanded their business this year to focus more on maternal wellness, including support groups for new mothers and classes on topics such as postpartum depression.
To access NewboRN Solutions services, parents can pay through the company’s secure online system before booking an appointment. Prices vary per contractor.[/toggle]
Linda Childers is a freelance writer.